mercoledì 7 aprile 2010
East River Pipe "The Gasoline Age"
Nel 1999 conducevo un programma su Radio Popolare Verona che si chiamava "L'Impaziente Inglese", ovviamente insieme al buon Claudio. Per quell'anno il suo disco preferito fu proprio questo capolavoro di F.M. Cornog. Epopea malinconia, struggente, desolata sul viaggio, come fuga, come voglia di qualcosa di nuovo, come oblio, come perdersi. E se i testi lasciano a bocca aperta, la musica è sempre figlia di quel mondo Sarah Records che incontra Mercury Rev o Flaming Lips. Probabilmente la vera voce dell'America è qui. (1999 Merge)
Like many bedroom visionaries, East River Pipe's home-studio world is full of solitary aches and slightly desperate desires. What gives The Gasoline Age its added kick is that it's about a guy who trades the city for the suburbs, and buys a car hoping to escape to a better life. It's beautiful low-fi pop, brimming with small triumphs, like hitting a string of green lights, and even bigger disappointments, like driving to Atlantic City praying all the way for a big score that never arrives. (Keith Moerer - http://www.amazon.com/)
Welcome to the insular world of F.M. Cornog. A staunch indie-vidualist who creates shambling rock anthems in the privacy of a home studio, Cornog usually works best when he's alone. Of course, he still moonlights with those subversive Nashville cats Lambchop, but Cornog's solo stuff really showcases his masterful pop craftsmanship. On the shimmering song "Wholesale Lies," Cornog summons the ghost of prime-era Beach Boys with splendid results. While Cornog's voice is a fairly rough instrument, his off-hand singing complements the fringe-dwelling imagery of ERP's unusual sound. As a one-man band, Cornog draws inspiration from the romantic world of automobiles. With eccentric compositions like "Shiny, Shiny Pimpmobile," "Cybercar," and "14th Street Stolen Car Club," Cornog takes this urban experience to an entertaining, lo-fi extreme. (Mitch Myers - http://www.amazon.com/)
"Luth, I don't know anything about bank robbing."
Luther was sitting in the back seat, pulling a pair of pantyhose over his head. We were idling in the parking lot of the Grub 'n' Stuff convenience store outside of Fairplay. I'm not sure why we let the car run; we were nearly out of gas. It was Luther's idea, I guess. Most stuff was.
"That's okay, dipshit," Luther said. "This isn't a bank."
He had me on that one. It'd never occured to me that the science of Grub 'n' Stuff robbing might be a little less complicated than that of bank robbing. It was a marginally comforting thought. Relieved, I leaned over to turn the stereo up a bit, just as Luther threw my package of hose to the front. A corner of the cardboard envelope caught me on the temple and took a divet of skin out. Blood began oozing immediately. I yelped.
"Man, stop the horsiness and put on your mask. We don't have time for your horsing, horse."
Luther had a real way with words. As he talked, the hose stretched over his open mouth, its surface rippling with his lips. It looked like two people wrestling in a pup tent. I fumbled with the package of pantyhose, singing along under my breath as I did so. My new favorite album was playing-- The Gasoline Age by East River Pipe-- and this was my new favorite song: "Down 42nd Street to the Light." We got to my new favorite part of the song and I sang a little louder: "La la la- la- la- la la la, yi yi yi- li- ya- la yi- ya." The second time through, I nearly choked on the hose as it came down over my mouth. I could feel the blood soaking through at my temple. It was gonna hurt to take this thing off.
"What the horsey are we listening to, dipshit?"
"It's East River Pipe. Be quiet or I'll miss my favorite part."
"The East River Pipe, huh? What kind of music is this anyway, space- country?"
"Luth, why do you always put 'the' in front of every damn thing? The Target, the McDonald's, the Blink 182, the Beethoven. It's, whaddyacallit..."
"No. Dumb. It sounds dumb. God. Yeah, I guess it is space- country, in a way. It's bleak, but sentimental and hopeful. F.M. Cornog's voice is warm and emotive, but also a bit detatched. He used to be a homeless guy. Slept in a New Jersey train station. That's the life."
I rewound the tape to the beginning, my trembling finger skittering off the button. As the keyboard washes and gentle strumming of "Shiny Shiny Pimpmobile" filled the car, I tried to regulate my breathing and relax a bit. It worked a little. We were in the middle of nowhere, which I liked. It was pretty-- went with the music. Spacious.
"Luth, why don't we just fill the tank and take off? People out here keep shotguns under their counters."
"There's just one old lady in there, dipshit, and she's asleep on her feet. Plus she's got a lazy eye-- even if she had a gun she couldn't aim it. Wouldn't hit the long side of a horsey, horse."
"How do you know she's got a lazy eye?"
"Cuz I saw it when I went in to buy the pantyhose. Jeez-hus, what are you so worried about?"
I thought about that for a second, holding the steering wheel and whistling along with the music. It seemed to me that the point of a road trip was to drive around listening to tapes and looking at stuff, not robbing convenience stores. Luther seemed to be missing something.
"Hey Luth, I got an idea. How 'bout you go in and take care of things? You're the expert here, right? And I'll wait out here. The getaway car, like. You say there's just one old lady there. You don't need me."
"Y'know, diphorse, you might be onto something there. As they say. Maybe I will do that, keep your horsiness from horsing things up, that's for sure. You just wait here, like you said. I'll be right back."
Luther got out of the car, realigned his hose, and strutted towards the Grub 'n' Stuff. As soon as he disappeared into the door, I gunned it and fishtailed onto the highway. I could hear the bells tied to the Grub 'n' Stuff's door clanging behind me as I took off. "Cybercar" was playing, and I sang along with the coda: "...go, go, go, go..." Through the hose it ended up sounding like, "Ghugh, ghugh, ghugh," but who gave a shit?
A mile later I pulled the mask off, ripping away my fresh scab, and tossed it out the window. A mile down the road, I ran out of gas. It was good while it lasted, I guess. I opened the door and swung my legs out, planting my feet on the shoulder, and sat there for a minute bobbing my head to the slow-mo, road- rapture melancholy of "Party Drive." As soon as the song ended, I popped out the tape and stuck my thumb in the air. (Zach Hooker - http://pitchfork.com/)
- Shiny, Shiny Pimpmobile
- Hell Is an Open Door
- Wholesale Lies
- My Little Rainbow
- Party Drive
- King of Nothing Never
- 14th Street Boys Stolen Car Club
- All You Little Suckers
- Down 42nd Street to the Light
- Atlantic City (Gonna Make a Million Tonight)
- Don't Hurry
EAST RIVER PIPE